Opinion Alita:Battle Angel was pretty good


I will preface this by stating I am 38 years old and have every volume of the Battle Angel Alita manga/graphic novel and saw the anime. In other words, I went into this movie expecting to be angrily disappointed at a piss-poor adaptation of one of my favorite stories. My fiancee on the other hand had never read the manga nor seen the anime and only even knew about it from what I had told her. I took my fiancee out to see Alita for Valentine's Day. Well, more like I dragged her along with me. She actually enjoyed it, much to my delight. More surprisingly, I enjoyed it too. ...And I really want people to go see it in theaters so we can get Alita 2.

James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar) produced and Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, From Dusk Till Dawn) directed this live-action CGI adapatation of of Yukito Kishiro's 1990 violent cyberpunk manga. The film stars Rosa Salazar (Maze Runner, Insurgent) as Alita, a cyborg amnesiac with exceptional martial prowess; Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Bastards, Django Unchained) as Doc Ido, the cybernetics expert who finds Alita's head in a scrapyard and gives her a new body; Jennifer Connelly (The Rocketeer, Requiem For a Dream) as Chiren, a cybernetics expert; Mahershala Ali (The Hunger Games, House Of Cards) as Vector, a shrewd businessman who gets what he wants in exchange for a pipe dream; Keean Johnson as Hugo, Alita's love interest who works for Vector stealing body parts from cyborgs still using them; Edward Norton (Fight Club, The Incredible Hulk) as Desty Nova, a shadowy mastermind residing in a utopia hanging in the sky far above the Scrapyard with his eyes on Alita; Ed Skrein (Deadpool, The Transporter Refueled) as Zapan, a dangerous cyborg bounty hunter publicly shamed by Alita ; Jackie Haley (Preacher, Watchmen) as Grewishka, a crazed cyborg who owes his life to Nova; and others.

First off, let's address people's biggest complaint about the trailers - Alita's eyes. They were actually not that distracting; they even made her a little cuter in my opinion! One miscellaneous character in Alita's backstory did look bad with the big eyes, though. I do wish they made Rosa's lips more pouty, like in the manga.

Many scenes in the film were inspired directly by the frames from the manga and scenes in the anime. The opening of the film almost made me weep tears of joy seeing Ido pry an eyeball out of a scrapped cyborg skull, then find Alita in the garbage and hold her torso up in the air -- a scene ripped nearly shot-for-shot straight out of the manga. My giddiest moment (my fiancee laughed at me because I got so excited in the theater) was the Factory 33 robot looked very similar to the ones in the manga. I was disappointed that the one in the movie was nowhere near as animated as the ones in the manga, but I was still ecstatic to see one.

Motorball. 'Nuff said.

As far as casting, I thought Mahershala was a good pick for Vector and I was satisfied with Christoph as Ido, although for decads I wanted to see Kiefer Sutherland play Ido. Rosa did well enough as Alita. Keean, in my opinion, was not a good pick for Hugo, but then again he did look way too young in the manga and anime, so whatever. Edward Norton didn't have any lines as Nova, so I can't say much about casting him yet, but they did a good enough job making him look the part. I was pleased with Ed's design as Zapaku; even though they changed the character's look somewhat, he still looked and acted like a badass.

I thought it was odd they changed some names, but not all. Izuchi, Makaku's henchman in the manga, was renamed to Rasha, who is Grewcica's henchman, in the anime, and he becomes Romo (plalyed by Derek Mears), Grewishka's henchman, in the live film. Nyssiana (played by Elsa Gonzalez) had no name before -- just a crazed cyborg Ido was hunting -- and had no relations at all.

There are other cyborgs which got names even though they originally didn't, or they were changed up. The most prominent one, perhaps, was Screwhead, a female cyborg hunter killer with what appears to be a large screw driven into her skull; she was a completely useless character created strictly for the film. Her name may have been a reference to the socket soldiers, but that's completely different. Some characters just seem to be name drops whose characters in the live film are mere shadows of the manga origins. For example, Clive Lee, renamed to Gi-me in the anime (but oddly renamed back to Master Clive Lee in the live film) is a completely forgettable character, whereas in the original story he has a small but significant role in Hugo's life.

In the manga, Ido's aide was a fat, grungy white (or Asian) guy named Gozu. In the live film, it's a young, clean black woman named Gerhard. ...Yeah, so you can drop the "Hollywood whitewashing" bull**** now.

Then there's Koyomi. In the live film, she's one of Hugo's close friends, as well as very Asian. In her original story, Koyomi was born around the same time that Ido found Alita and was the daughter of the owner/bartender of Kansas; Makaku used baby Koyomi as bait to lure Alita down into his lair. She also looked even less Asian than Alita. Why is Koyomi even worth mentioning? The official Alita timeline is actually laid out by Yukito in terms of anno Koyomi -- in the years of Koyomi.

The story was changed a bit drastically from the original manga, but the changes weren't necessarily bad; many of the changes I just accepted and was able to enjoy elements from them. The first big change I noticed, though, was Ido names Alita after his daughter in the film, but in the original story he named her after his cat -- who was male. Funny moment missed. Yes, it was nagging me throughout the first part of the film. Ido tells Alita that the alabaster body he gives her was built for his daughter originally, but in the original story it was implied that they may have been stolen from a hooker. Also, Ido in the original story Ido only revives Alita's head and heart initially, carrying her around the city on his back until he can get parts for the rest of her body. It's a very cyberpunk scene missing from the film, but it was easy enough for me to dismiss.

Alita also learns to play motorball with Hugo and his buddies. Yeah, that's a big change between versions. Hugo was a conniving, selfish brat who had no feelings for Alita at first and used her as a means to an end, not some kid she plays games with. This scene bugged me a bit and perhaps they could have gone without it, but it worked well enough as intended.

Hugo follows Alita to a shady nightclub called Kansas where Zapan and other bounty hunters hang out. This is a big change to the nightclub, in my opinion. In the live film, they make Kansas out to be like a saloon in some old wild west film, with bounty hunters brawling with each other and glaring at Alita when she walks in with Hugo. In the manga, the bounty hunters in Kansas are initially friendly toward Ido and Alita until she insults them for being scared of Makaku.

...Which leads me to my biggest complaint about the live film. In the manga, Makaku was constantly in pain and seeking bigger, badder, stronger cyborg bodies to take over. In the live film, the bounty hunters refuse to fight Grewishka because he has no bounty. In the manga, the bounty hunters are terrified of Makaku and have every reason to avoid fighting him: he has a hefty bounty on his head, killed at least 10 bounty hunters already, is a hulking beast, and devours brains to ease his pain and get his endorphin fix; even Alita is frightened by him when she finds out how much of a monster he really is. But in the live film, Grewishka is just some weird-looking grunt antagonist with a nifty weapon. Oh yeah, and about that weapon: in the film, Vector gives it to him, but in the original manga, he steals it for himself -- without a body of his own! MAKAKU WAS A BEAST! They probably toned him down so much for the film because eating brains might have netted an R rating.

That poor, forgotten R rating... The film should have been a lot more violent. A lot more. It should have gotten an R rating. It needed an R rating! However, they did get away with a little extra violence the same way Midway got Mortal Kombat onto the SNES -- most cyborgs don't bleed red blood. You can get away with decapitating people as long as red blood doesn't come out of their heads!

Don't watch it in 3D. Save your money. The depth algorithm they used wasn't very impressive to me. I thought the 3D in How To Train Your Dragon was better.

It also felt like it went on for a long time, even though it was only 2 hours long. I mean, at least I felt I got my money's worth out of it.

All in all, as I said, I felt it was an enjoyable film on its own merits. If you've read the manga, try to clear your mind of the source material. If you've seen the anime, try to clear your mind of that. On its own merits, while it is at times a poorly written story, the CGI and action, the occasional comedy, and to some extent the romance all came together to make this a moderately entertaining science-fiction flick. And even if you can't let go of the source material, in spite of the many liberties they took making this, it still kept close to the first two volumes of the manga and the anime (aside from practically writing Clive Lee out of the story). Seeing Zalem (Tiphares to you English manga readers) spewing trash and hearing the hums of the transport tube made me so happy. As for my fiancee, she really liked the Motorball segments, but was disappointed that they did not show more of the actual sporting event. I was happy they showed as much of Motorball as they did, but I was sad they didn't include the fan cheering joyfully after getting his arms ripped off.

One other plus side those unfamiliar with the original story will probably miss -- lots of subtle foreshadowing. It was actually because of this that I was able to forgive them for giving Ido a daughter named Alita.

In the film, a couple of Hugo's friends help him steal body parts from cyborgs. I felt that really weakened his character, since in the manga and anime he went solo, pretending to offer tune-ups. Then again, he was hardly good guy in the manga.

Grewishka worked for Nova (fine, I mean, Nova built his body), as well as Vector. That just makes him a tool. Makaku was his own person. Also, although i did like that they kept the line about him growing up underground in the film, I really wish they used more of Maraku's story.

Zapan gets a lot of story time in the live film, taking away from Clive Lee. Clive Lee was important in Hugo's backstory. He was also a bit of a badass, whereas Zapaku was just a hothead (which they kept in the film).

The owner of Kansas didn't get enough focus. Then again, they did take his baby girl away from him.

Hugo's ending was diminished in shock value by Alita's flashback, which was not in the manga.

Needed more brains.
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Friendly Tyrant
Forum Staff
I will preface this by stating I am 38 years old and have every volume of the Battle Angel Alita manga/graphic novel and saw the anime. In other words, I went into this movie expecting to be angrily disappointed at a piss-poor adaptation of one of my favorite stories. My fiancee on the other hand had never read the manga nor seen the anime and only even knew about it from what I had told her. I took my fiancee out to see Alita for Valentine's Day. Well, more like I dragged her along with me. She actually enjoyed it, much to my delight. More surprisingly, I enjoyed it too. ...And I really want people to go see it in theaters so we can get Alita 2.
I have read this and will read no more. This is ALL the information I needed before going to see the film! I love Robert Rodriguez and love the Alita: Battle Angel manga, so was quietly hopeful for this, although in my heart I felt it would just be another superficial american rehash... fun to watch but void of meaning and true content. Your comment gives me hope and I'll read the rest when I've seen the actual film. :p
That's as far as I read before checking how much text there was :p
I also love Robert Rodriguez, big fan of his movies ever since I saw Desperado as a kid. The trailers looked bad but I will see it because of Rob regardless.


Cameron said he wants to serialize the films; I'm hoping he covers the rest of the volumes of the first series. I would be okay without a Last Order arc; that was mostly pointless fighting, some back story, world-building, and philosophy -- not stuff the US film market is noted for these days. I haven't gotten started on Mars Chronicles yet, so no comment there.

Here is what I would like to see in Alita 2:
Umba and Ed as Alita's pit crew. Ido should not stay on has her pit manager, he hates Motorball in the film, so it wouldn't make sense.
I want to see Sumira with at least some under-boob.
For the love of God, please include Tiegel!!
I want a fan to get his arms ripped off.
I want an epic motorball match between Alita and Jashugan.
Do NOT make Jashugan a bad guy. He is not evil, he is a hero, a revenant, and a god!
Zapan sees Alita on the TV, loses his mind, kills his girlfriend.
Zapan asks Sarah's severed head to give him the strength to beat Alita.
Alita hunts Zapan down for his bounty, but then McTeague shows up.
The cyborg dogs tear Zapan to pieces.
Cut to Ido following up on a tip about another berserker body (because we gotta change story).
Ido meets Desty Nova (or maybe Eelai controlled by Nova).
Zapan's remains are attached to a berserker body and it starts morphing.
The end. (Should be close to two hours)
Watched it last night. Had not read the manga prior to watching. Overall enjoyed it, great special effects, great action. Wanted more of Motorball. Felt they had to rush parts of the story, but that's to be expected and didn't feel like anything was missing. Did not feel the movie was too long, wanted more!!!

My friend told me the original cut was 3 hours long, so a directors cut would be cool.

3D was not too bad considering I don't like the way most 3D films live-action films appear. (animated movies seem to work better most of the time in 3D compared with live-action 3D).

I often sit in 3D live-action movies and am made too aware of the 3D bits. The fact that I pretty much didn't find myself consciously thinking about the 3D is a good thing.

I hope the movie does well enough for sequels, would like to see more!

Interested to check out the manga now too.


Interested to check out the manga now too.
If you CAN find it in stock, the first 9 volumes are a worthwhile investment. It IS a bit hard to follow at times due to various time lapses between volumes, but that just means the story is more epic. In the Last Order series, it's almost all focused on a single point in time and feels more like a cash grab since nearly every volume hangs. I haven't started the newest story arc yet, so I can't comment on it; I think it's focused on her childhood.

Just in the first volume alone you will notice a lot of differences from the film. I have a hunch Rodriguez was responsible for a lot of the major deviations, but Yukito was just really happy that they didn't go Dragonball Evolution on his story. lol KamehameHahHaHaWTFisThisCrap!

One YouTuber did point out something significant I had noticed but paid no mind to -- and it was a significant difference. The Scrapyard was much filthier than Iron Town. I mean, the movie did seem to use a dust particulates shader across many of the scenes, but overall Iron Town was just so CLEAN. There was no prevalent issue of homelessness and hunger. We never actually see Zalem in the film, but the vile wretchedness of the Scrapyard sets Zalem so much further apart. The Scrapyard is a failure of Capitalism. Even though it is a slum of Zalem in essence, the Scrapyard has its own slums as well. There is a reason why Ido accepts oranges for payment -- his patients are usually destitute. Ido is legit a friggin' noble saint in the manga.

Ugh. I seriously hope they don't milk out Ido's role for the film sequel. This is Alita's story, not Ido's.


Just saw the movie...It was far better than I expected it to be. (Far better than Avengers End Game...but not better than Infinity War)

Hope it earns enough to warrant a sequel.

Anyone remember how good that Dredd movie (2012) was...but never got a sequel?
Kinda reminds me of Alita...(Future setting, lots of violence)

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Friendly Tyrant
Forum Staff
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Dredd was AMAZINGLY good. One of the best action films I've seen and I'm really looking forward to the series when it comes out. https://www.digitalspy.com/tv/a8378...ity-one-karl-urban-plot-netflix-release-date/

EDIT: BTW, I saw the film Alitta, and, tbh, I wasn't disappointed. Fairly good film! Entertaining, well made, and did justice I think to the source material...
A new anime Alita on Netflix might work (No way they'd have the budget to do a CGI version). This anime could boost her popularity more to get a movie sequel.
Here are clips from the old 1993 Alita anime...(Note: It would be cool if they released a digitally remastered version of the original)

Side Note: The original James Cameron Terminator kinda failed at the box office...then became a cult phenomenon. (6.4 million to make) (Earned 78.3 million at the box office)
Alita seems to have done better (200 million to make) (Earned 400 million at the box office)